Castro Internet Archive
Spoken: January 2, 1963, (1654 GMT) in the Plaza De Revolucion Jose Marti (Havana)
First Published: January 2, 1963
Source: Castro Speech Database
Markup: Brian Baggins
Online Version: Castro Internet Archive (marxists.org) 2000
Distinguished visitors, workers, peasants, students, all citizens: Mr. Kennedy would say (applause for approximately two minutes) that I am addressing the captive people of Cuba. (Applause) According to the concepts of the imperialists, the concept in which exploitation is just and crime and aggression are right, to be mercenary is right; according to the concepts of imperialists this country is a captive country. If we start by imagining things in this vein, nothing else they do is surprising.
Recently an event took place which, even if they try to ignore it, is an historic event. Imperialism agreed to pay our country the indemnity fixed by the revolutionary courts of the invaders of Playa Giron. The Government of the United States tried by all means to avoid its official responsibility, to elude the official acceptance of this fact. This is in accordance with the pharasaical mentality of the leaders of imperialism. This is in accordance with everything they do. For example, when they attacked us on 15 April they sent airplanes with Cuban insignia. And when Cuba denounced the aggression, they declared through their cable agencies to the whole world that these were not planes from abroad but Cuban planes (whose pilots — Ed.) had revolted. And they made this version known to the whole world.
Fortunately, for them, a lie of that type was only one more lie. They have always acted in this manner and for that reason it was not surprising that on one side they were mobilizing to gather the funds and on the other side they pretended that it was simply a committee of families that was carrying out these negotiations. In the background, it was the Government of the United States.
Now it has been learned that the brother of the President of the United States had made the main arrangements to obtain the funds to pay the indemnity. They, naturally, do not call it indemnity. They said it is rescue. This, too, is logical for them to say. To the imperialists, who jailed a Negro newspaperman for visiting Cuba and fined him 10,000 dollars for exercising a constitutional right, this is justice. On the other hand, the fact that a revolution has been generous to the criminals who attacked us while serving a foreign power, the fact that the revolutionary courts, instead of giving them a sentence which they deserved — capital punishment for all of them — let them go with a fine, is not justice. To punish those who attacked us one morning by surprise and cowardice, to punish those who came escorted by foreign battle ships, to punish those who, in serving a foreign power, committed an act of flagrant treason by all codes, that was not justice. They call is rescue. But we do not care what they call it. The fact is they that had to agree to pay indemnity and that for the first time (short applause) in history, imperialism paid a war indemnity.
And why did they pay it? Because they were beaten, because in Playa Giron the imperialists suffered their first great defeat in Latin America. (Short applause) What did the President of the United States do? How has he acted? First he assumed the responsibility for the attack to our country. However, during 20 months, they avoided paying that indemnity. When at the end they decided to pay, and the revolutionary government greed the invaders, what was the conduct of the President of the United States? Was it the conduct of a statesman. Was it the conduct of a responsible man? No. It was the conduct of a pirate. It was the conduct of a chief of filibusters. Because, really, never has a President of the United States degraded the dignity of his office to such as did Mr. Kennedy on the day he met with the criminal invaders of our country.
Here I have the little speech he made on that day. It is good that I have no love for him, because reading these things teaches us to understand the imperialists. He started by saying — I am going to read the most important paragraphs, as some paragraphs lack pervasiveness; the most important paragraphs — "I want to express my deepest thanks to the brigade for making the United States the custodian of this flag. I can assure you that this flag," and listen well "this flag will be returned to this brigade in a free Havana." We do not know if there is a bar in Miami called Free Havana.
Then he says, and this is the height of ridiculousness and (word indistinct), as we Cubans say: "I ask Mr. Miranda, who kept this flag for 20 months, to come forward so we can know him. I wanted to know the person to whom I should return it." Perhaps that morning he had one drink too many.
In the first place the story of the flag is a lie, a complete lie. Everyone knows that the mercenaries that come here dressed as "silk worms," as the people say, with camouflaged uniforms of the North American army, were totally and absolutely surprised and captured. But not only that, everyone knows that they left even their underwear.
Now they have invented the story that one escaped and carried the flag in his clothes and that is the flag they delivered to Kennedy. In the first place they have swindled Kennedy because no one could escape from that cell. The best proof is that the whole brigade fell prisoner. They all said they were cooks and aidmen.
Let them forget the "show" of the flag, and give this man (Kennedy — Ed.) acting life a chief of pirates, a chance to meet with these criminals, with these cowards, and there declare to the world that he can assume them that this flag will returned in a free Havana. But there are more interesting things. He says: "You members of the brigade and members of your families are following a historic path, a path followed by other Cubans in other times and by other patriots of our hemisphere in other years — Marti, Bolivar, O'Higgins — all who fought for freedom, many of whom were defeated, many of whom were exiled, and all of whom returned to their countries."
To compare these mercenaries with Marti, to compare these mercenaries with the patriots of independence — all the world knows Marti's history, of that Marti with ragged clothes, of that Marti who did not receive his funds from the Yankee treasury, of that Marti who suffered this humble emigration, of proletarians, of tobacco raisers, who gathered funds to buy weapons which once acquired were taken away by the Yankee authorities. Of that Marti who did not come escorted by the Yankee fleet, nor was he preceded in his landing by Yankee bombers, of that Marti who on a stormy night landed in a rowboat almost by himself on the western shores. To compare this integral, anti-imperialist man, to compare the effort of these patriots with these miserable individuals is an affront to the memory of those men.
Our liberators came to free slaves, to build a nation, a nation which imperialism has frustrated, a nation which Yankee imperialism stepped upon for 50 years. And who were these men? They were slave owners, latifundists, exploiters of game and vice, millionaires, criminals, and robbers. All exploiters are robbers. They came to enslave, to take from the country its riches, to return to Yankee monopolies our factories and our lands. And this man (Kennedy — Ed.) says that 60 years ago Marti, the first spirit of independence, lived in this land. In 1889 the first international conference took place. Cuba was not present.
Comrades, this man says: "Then Cuba was the only state in the hemisphere still controlled by a foreign monarch. Then as now, Cuba was excluded from the society of free nations. And then as now, brave men in Florida and New York dedicated their lives and their energies to the liberation of their country." Kennedy's "then as now" means "now as never before" to us.
We can wave the flag of the lone star with pride now more than ever. We are respected now more than ever. And the best proof of this is the respect we inspire in the imperialists themselves. It is the respect inspired by a nation that has not been cowed by its power, that has not been cowed in four years of heroic struggle. Now more than ever, Mr. Kennedy, we are free and we are the free territory of America. (Applause, chanting)
This gentleman continues by saying things, some of which can cause us some laughter. He says: "The brigade comes from behind the walls of a prison, but you have left behind more than 6 million of your compatriots who are also, in a very real sense, in a prison, (crowd boos) because Cuba today is a prison surrounded by water." Which means that you are prisoners. (Crowd shouts "no") Didn't you know that? Then he continued: "Your conduct and your courage are proof that although Castro and his dictator colleagues may govern nations, they do not govern peoples." (Crowd shouts "no") I do not know what you are, then. I do not know what this impressive crowd that gathered in this plaza behind their weapons could be. He says: "Bodies may be imprisoned, but not spirits." You must be unimprisoned spirits. (Laughter)
He says: "The revolution promised the Cuban people political freedom, social justice, intellectual freedom, land for the peasants, and the end of economic exploitation." He says we made a promise. He continued: "What they have received is a police state, the elimination of the dignity of owning lands, the destruction of the freedom of expression and of the press, and the total subjugation of individual human well being to the service of the state and of foreign states."
We have not carried out a single social reform, nor agrarian reform. Nor have we taught a million illiterates, nor do we have nearly 100,000 scholarship students studying and creating a new intellectual generation. (Applause) The intellectual freedom of which Kennedy speaks is the intellectual freedom by virtue of which more than half a million children did not have schools in our country. The intellectual freedom of which Kennedy speaks are the 20 million Latin American children without teachers and without schools.
But the curious thing is that this gentlemen says that we promised the end of economic exploitation. To what exploitation does this gentleman refer? Could it be that of the United Fruit Company? (Crowd shouts) Could it be that of the electric company and the telephone company, that same company that on the bloody day of 13 March, over the blood of the heroic students who fell there, signed an exploiting and one-sided contract against our country? Could it be that those companies are still exploiting our country?
But the curious thing, could Kennedy be changing? (Crowd laughs) The curious thing is that he speaks of our offering an end to economic exploitation and then immediately says: "Under the Alliance for Progress, we support for Cuba and for all the countries of this hemisphere the right to free elections and the right to the free exercise of basic human rights. We support agrarian reform." (Crowd laughs) Could Kennedy be converting to Marxism-Leninism? (Crowd laughs)
The fact is that in this country more than 100,000 peasant families paid rents, which at times were 50 percent of their products. Who finds a peasant along the length and breadth of the country paying rent now? More than 100,000 exploited peasants became owners of their lands. (Applause) But why does this gentleman think that the peasants are with the revolution? What kind of a snarl has formed in the head of Mr. Kennedy when he says that we have promised the end of economic exploitation and that we have not kept our promise? And he speaks of agrarian reform? We already know what their friends, the Latin American latifundistas, will tell them. As the Chilean latifundists said: "Listen, you speak of distributing the land. Why not talk about distributing the copper mines also?"
It is very curious that we hear the chief of the Yankee empire speak of economic exploitation, agrarian reform, and such things. When, before, did he speak of such things? Never, of course, they do not speak sincerely, but how long have they been speaking this language? What taught them to speak this language? (Crowd shouts) Who were their teachers? (Crowd shouts) The Cubans. Too bad we have such bad disciples. (Applause) And this gentleman uses a strange language, a revolutionary language. This is curious. He is going to create some problems with the reactionaries because, although the reactionaries know that what he says is a story, they also know that one must not play with words. And the Latin American latifundistas are going to say: "Well, if we will distribute our lands, you must distribute the oil, the copper, the iron, and all the monopolies you have here." Those are the irreconcilable contradictions of imperialism. How can they use this language?
He then says: "We support the agrarian reform and the right of each peasant to own the land he works." That is precisely what we said, but we are the only ones who have done it. And, of course, we do not need the Alliance for Progress. But the Yankee ambassador complained about that. Mr. Bonsal protested about that every day, that we had nationalized the lands of the United Fruit and the Atlantica del Golfo and all the Yankee companies, so that the land would belong to those who work it, and all the peasants who paid rent would be freed from rent. The Yankee ambassador protested about that every day. When do you think the Playa Giron expedition was organized? After the law of agrarian reform, which was rather kind because it left them with 30 caballerias. When they left they lost that too.
The United Fruit Company had 10,000 cabellerias of land, and another company had 17,000. Now they don't have it. Has the imperialist economic exploitation ended or not? In the rural areas the men were without work most of the time, desperately awaiting the sugar harvest or the harvest of coffee. The lands were uncultivated. The big land holdings where proletarian workers worked — not peasants, for the peasants were the ones who worked the land on their own — began to be exploited. The results: rural employment was eradicated. The layoff, which was the plague of our rural areas, disappeared forever.
And now, who goes to harvest the peasant's coffee? The scholarship students. That means that the revolution has not just made those peasants owners of their lands and built them hospitals, roads, schools, sent them teachers, made them literate; but now, as the result of the economic development of the country, there are no more of those hungry pariahs who used to collect coffee because there was nothing else to do. The revolution sends them the youth, the students to harvest the coffee. There is no more off-season in our rural areas. There is no more unemployment in our rural areas. There is no more illiteracy. Children no longer die without medical attention. (Applause) And cultural life is developing with giant strides. How can they pretend to ignore these truths? In ignoring them they suffer those tremendous mistakes into which they fall.
Then he says that he "supports the right of all free peoples to freely transform their economic institutions." That is what we have done. We have transformed as a free people our economic institutions. In words, this gentleman is changing. But it is dangerous to change in words alone, because this creates a confusion in the mind which no one can remove. He said that he supports the right freely to transform economic institutions — nothing more or less than exactly what we have done. And because we did so we have the enmity of the imperialists. Who can they deceive. Then he says: "There are principles of the Alliance for Progress, the principles which we support for Cuba. These are the principles for which men have fought and fallen." Yes, they have fallen, but on our side.
Then he tells those mercenaries, sons of latifundio-owners, bankers, industrialists, usurers (garroteros), and crooked gamblers (tahures) — he tells them: "These are the principles for which you fought and for which some members of your brigade gave their lives." You might remember what those men said. They talked about free enterprise. And all of them, in their immense majority, those who were not henchmen, were sons of latifundio-owners or wealthy men. Then this man comes and tells them they came to fight for the economic change of society. But what he says next is even better. He says: "I believe that these are the principles of the great majority of the Cuban people today."
Yes, principles as we understand them, not as they see them! He says, and listen well, he says: "I am certain that throughout the island of Cuba, in the government, itself." How intriguing, how intriguing this Mr. Kennedy is, because he says: "I am certain that within the government itself, in the army and the militia, there are many who hold to a faith in freedom and are filled with consternation at the destruction of freedom in their island and are determined to restore that freedom so that the Cuban people can again govern themselves." (Shouts from from the crowd)
It is fitting to tell Mr. Kennedy, the intriguing Kennedy, to change sleeping positions. He speaks, but a funny thing, he speaks of the rebel army and he speaks of the militia, those militiamen who have been the terror of the imperialists, (applause) those soldiers, those heroic soldiers who in 72 hours, or I should say in less than 72 hours, crushed the pirates of the Yankee empire. (Applause)
How strange that the imperialists have tested all of the weapons and have failed in all of them. They have failed because we have an armed people. Today he speaks, and today he tries to intrigue and tries to make it appear possible that those patriotic soldiers, those proletarian militiamen, can place themselves at the service of Yankee imperialism. (Applause) Mr. Kennedy, between us and you and between those revolutionary soldiers and the Yankee empire there is much blood. (Applause) And that blood began to flow many years ago. That blood began to flow in the Sierra Maestra, when we fought against an army trained by Yankee military missions, under the fire of Yankee arms, under bombardment by Yankee planes. And these soldiers saw entire families die enveloped in the napalm of Yankee incendiary bombs. They saw mutilated children assassinated by machine guns, and many comrades dying in the fighting.
Mr. Kennedy, between our people and the imperialists, between our combatants and the imperialists there is much blood. There is the blood of the workers assassinated during the Le Courbre explosion, for a criminal sabotage prepared by the Yankee agency. There is the blood of the workers who died putting out the first in the sugar cane fields set aflame by small planes from the United States. There is blood such as that of Fe Del Valle who died when the Central Intelligence Agency terrorists set fire to one of our work centers. Between those combatants and imperialism there is the blood of more than 100 soldiers and militiamen who died gloriously at Playa Giron. (Applause) There is the blood of the assassinated teachers, such as Conrado Benitez. There is the blood of the cruelly assassinated brigade members such as Manuel Ascunce Domenech. There is an abyss of blood between us and you, messrs. imperialists.
But there is something more than blood. There is still a deeper abyss. It is the abyss which separates the workers from the exploiters, the liberated salves from the enslavers. There is the abyss of our ideas, the abyss which separates our ideas, and there a profound abyss separating them from the dignity of our people, the dignity of each Cuban man and woman (Applause). The Cuban people are not that sort of people. They are not the group of outcasts, of exploiters and traitors, of privileged people whom the revolution deprived of their lands.
The Cuban people today are very different from that group of wretched people. The dignity of these people has had an irrefutable test, and that is, that despite the imperialists, despite their gold, their crimes, their aggressions, their blockades, and despite all they have done to destroy our revolution, today we celebrate, or rather yesterday we celebrated, our fourth anniversary. Mr. Kennedy, we celebrated our fourth anniversary and started on our fifth year. (Applause) We are speaking about the five points, but I wanted to get out of the way of the matter of the little meeting in Miami.
How did these men behave, these men who left? How could they behave like rates, according to a man on the street. The entire world saw it over television. There was not one single one who said he had not been shipped. There was not one single one who did not admit he had made a mistake, that they thought the militia would join them, that the army would not fight. There was not one single one who did not believe it was going to be a military parade, and then they became repentant Magdalenes before television cameras. In prison, they wrote lengthy and unending letters of repentance — their main chiefs (those who wrote the letters Ed.), whom the people know.
The revolution dealt with them generously not because they deserved it, but because those are our principles. None of them was beaten. Almost all of the lives of their wounded were saved in revolutionary hospitals. In accordance with the law and by their actions, they deserved capital punishment. However, the sentences given them were sentences that allowed them to go free if damages to our country were indemnified.
What the imperialists do not say is that if they remained 20 months in prison, it was due to the Yankee pharisee-like spirit, the Yankee hypocrisy which prevented them from showing their face, which kept them from paying, because scarcely two months or less following the attack, they could have been released, if the imperialists had paid. The imperialists likewise have not disclosed that the revolutionary Government had previously released, many months ago, 60 wounded and sick, allowing them to pay indemnification later, which they paid only now, that the Revolutionary Government acceded to release the prisoners when they had paid only 20 percent. None of that have they been willing to disclose.
And what have they done over there upon their arrival, all those wretched ones, those cowards whom an entire population saw pleading for clemency, trying to elude responsibility, describing themselves as cooks and nurses, saying they had not fired one single shot. When they arrived there, their first statements were to the effect they hoped to return, to come back, and so forth and so forth. This gives the people an idea of the treatment deserved by such pests (alimanas). However, if the Revolutionary Government has released them through an agreement with the U.S. Red Cross for the implementation of all of the agreements we have signed guaranteed by a Canadian banking organization — guaranteed, if the revolution released them — it is because the revolution can combat 50 expeditions such as that one, not one gang like that (applause), but 50 gangs like it that would land simultaneously on our national territory. We could destroy them even more rapidly than we destroyed that one.
The security of our country is not affected in the least by the fact that the gang of pests is out of the country. The U.S. Red Cross was in charge of implementing the arrangements, and we must say that up to this moment, it has been carrying out its duties satisfactorily. It is a pity that with that botchery (chapuceria), that ridiculous attitude which is incompatible with the dignity of the position, Mr. Kennedy sounded that sour note and dropped a stain on an action which was motivated by a lofty humanitarian spirit. But then, what else can be expected from the chief of the pirates.
He went there to be near his defeated army, near his pirates who left this country with their heads hanging in shame. And what a moment that was for us, the moment when at the same airport where the cowardly attack of 15 April took place, at the same airport where planes of Yankee make dropped their load of bombs on 15 April, Yankee planes also alighted later as meek peace doves leaving their cargo of medicines and baby food. Those of us who lived through those two episodes, through the aggression and the unloading of the indemnification, cannot forget it because they were not the haughty and arrogant attackers who one day dropped bombs and, as a penalty for that adventure, one day they had to come and bring other things to save lives and to benefit our people. (Applause)
With respect to the encouragement that Mr. Kennedy tried to give them, we say to him that if he wants to finance the economic development of the Cuban socialist republic, let him continue to send expeditions such as this one. (Applause) We must say that the Cuban Government demanded the entire payment imposed by the sentences; that is, 62 million, the value of the products delivered here. We hope that this is a lesson to the imperialists.
What is this that Kennedy says, as it says here, that he can assure that that flag will be returned to the mercenaries in a free Havana? What does Mr. Kennedy mean by this? What threat is implied in that statement? Why does he dare say he assures such a thing? How is that compatible with a promise of nonaggression against our country, a promise not to invade Cuba? That is why we have maintained and we maintain that the guarantees offered by imperialism must not be contained simply in words? They must be accompanied by actions. We have more than good reason to mistrust the imperialists and we know that guarantees can never be contained within the mere word of the imperialists. Guarantees lie in our decision to fight, in our decision to resist historically any attack from the enemy. (Applause)
Guarantees lie in those arms you say in this parade and many more weapons which were not shown in this parade. Guarantees lies in our hundreds of thousands of fighters, guarantees lie in the heroism of our people who more than proved their heroism during very difficult moments. When Mr. Kennedy threatened to turn us into a nuclear target in efforts to intimidate us, what happened then? The people shouted: fatherland or death! ((Applause followed by rhythmic applause) More men and women than ever enlisted in the militia. More men and women than ever asked to be inscribed in the mass organizations. With a smile on their lips and with an impressive calm, an entire population became determined to face the enemy, to die, if necessary (applause), because among these revolutionary people, the imperialists will never find weakness. We might die, yes, but never weaken. (Applause) We might die, yes, but we will die free and in dignity. (Rhythmic applause)
We would die not because we have no regard for life, not because we have disdain for the creative work our people are carrying out, not because we have failed to love the luminous future to which we we have a right through our work, but because all of our lives are indisolubly associated with that idea and that future. Without a fatherland, we want no life. Without freedom, we want no life. Without dignity, we want no life! (Applause) Without justice, we want no life! Without bread for our children, we want no life! (Applause) Without a future, we want no life! That is why we say: Fatherland or death! (Applause)
That is why the hymn of our fighters for independence left it clearly established that to live in chains is to live sunk in opprobrium and affront and to die for the homeland is to live. (Applause) This explains the attitude of our people, the wherefores of the measures we took in the face of imperialist aggression and in the face of the imperialists' threats, without hesitation, so that imperialists may know that these people do not vacillate. That is why we took measures to arm ourselves, and that is why we agreed with the Soviet Union (applause) on the weapons that were set up here, (applause) because we understood that we were fulfilling two obligations: one toward the country, fortifying its defenses in view of imperialist threats, and one obligation toward the peoples of the socialist camp; that is, an international proletarian duty. (Applause, about one minute) We were fulfilling two duties: one toward the workers of the world, our internationalist duties, in accordance with the principles of proletarian internationalism because patriotism is proletarian internationalism within socialist revolution. That was the thought that preceded the conduct of Cuba revolution.
You know how the crisis started, developed, and culminated. We mean to say that our people always reserve the rights in front of their imperialist enemies to take all measures deemed pertinent and to possess the weapons deemed necessary. (Applause) The Soviet Government, in search of peace, arrived at certain agreements with the North American government, but this does not mean that we have renounced this right, the right to possess the weapons we deem proper and to take the international policy steps we deem pertinent as a sovereign country. (Applause) And for that reason we do not accept the unilateral inspection that they wanted to establish here with the only purpose, of the imperialists, to humble us. And there was no inspection and there will never be inspection. And if they want inspection let them permit us to inspect them. What do they expect from a sovereign country, a sovereign country (repeating — Ed.), we are as sovereign or more than they are. (Applause)
We must know how cunning the imperialists are, what foxes they are in all their acts and deeds. Therefore, we do not trust the imperialists. The guarantees in which we have always believed, as I said, are the ones I mentioned before and the solidarity of the socialist camp. They have always been our guarantee. Without the solidarity of the socialist camp, we would have been disarmed, this is clear because when we went to buy weapons in a West European country they blew up our ship and killed about 50 workers and soldiers. The imperialists demanded that weapons not be sold to us, and while they were arming and training their mercenaries, they were preventing us from acquiring weapons, and it was the countries of the socialist camp who furnished us weapons. And thus the solidarity of the socialist camp is an efficient weapon against imperialist aggression. (Applause) In that guarantee we do believe, in this guarantee which gives us two things: our will to fight to the last man and the solidarity of the socialist camp; and not in the worlds of the imperialists. That is the reason we have presented our five demands, so just, so logical, and so consubstantial with our rights that no one could object to them.
What kind of peace are the imperialists complaining about? With their economic pressures against our country, promoting subversion, organizing piratical attacks, declaring their purpose of violating our airspace. What peace can this be? What kind of peace?
Do the imperialists think by chance that we are going to accept violation of our rights. What peace would that be? A peace that could be broken any moment by a violation. In any moment an incident could occur, because of that declared policy, because it is clear that if the imperialists are permitted one of their tricks, they will then try others. And they showed with their planes; in the days of the crisis, during a truce, they started to fly over and buzz our bases and over our artillerymen until they received orders to fire; then the Americans went as high as they could, and they quit flying low.
What kind of peace would that be? A peace in which we would have to accept these violations. We do not accept them. These violations could be sources for incidents. We are acquiring better antiaircraft weapons as time goes by. Today the first ground rocket training unit passed in review (Applause), units that are in training. What kind of peace would that be, a peace in which the imperialists expose us to incidents of this type through their stated policy of violating our airspace. And lastly, what are they doing in part of our territory, threatening us, making plans from there against our country? That territory is ours and we have every right to claim it. What right to the imperialists have to possess a base on our territory?
These are the five points that we have presented as a just demand of our people for a true solution of the Caribbean crisis. The imperialists as yet have made no clear statements. They have spoken with reticence; they have spoken in a threatening and insidious voice saying that if Cuba does not promote subversion and such there will be no invasion. The statements they made to the mercenaries are not declarations of peace. They do not imply a guarantee for our country, because everyone knows that 50 or 100 expeditions like that one or any type of direct attack will be rapidly repelled. What do the imperialists mean with this threat? What kind of guarantees are these? They have not spoken clearly and openly. The Soviet Union has fulfilled its part. The Government of the United States has not fulfilled its promise.
It is superfluous to say that our position is not a position contrary to solutions or against peaceful solutions. We agree with the policy of discussion and negotiation of problems by peaceful means. We agree with that basic principle. We agree, too, with the policy of concession for concession. Our position maintained throughout this crisis is a position strictly adjusted to principles. We refuse to accept inspection. We do so because our country cannot renounce an absolutely sovereign prerogative. And we have defended our integrity because the fact that we favor peace does not mean that they are going to land on our shores and we not fire a shot. We are for peace but if we are attacked we are going to repel them with all our means. (Applause).
We know that in the present world the hands of the imperialists are not free. If they had been free, we would have had to suffer the consequences from the outset. It's a true fact that the world correlation of forces permitted them to do what they pleased — what they did in Nicaragua, Mexico, and Santo Domingo and in other small countries of Latin America. Their hands are not free now and they are not in a position to act freely as they did before. The irresponsible acts of Mr. Kennedy placed the world at the brink of war.
Whom can they blame? Us? The Soviet Union? (Crowd shouts "no") Who were the aggressors? Who has been baiting our country incessantly from the first? It is they who have maintained a declared war against our country, ceaseless aggression against our country. These are the facts that cannot be hidden or denied. There was the meeting with the mercenaries he sent to invade our country. They were the aggressors. They are the only ones to blame. Let them stop their policy of aggression and the threat of war will end in the Caribbean. Let them stop their policy of aggression and there will be peace in the Caribbean. But let them not think they can attack us and that we will not defend ourselves. Let them not think that we will fold our arms in the face of their aggressions. The harm they try to cause us we will try to cause them as well. If what the imperialists want in exchange for peace is that we stop being revolutionary we will not stop being revolutionary. We will never lower our flag.
We are examples for the brother peoples of America because the captives, Mr. Kennedy, are not the Cubans. The captives are the millions of Indians and Latin Americans who are exploited by the Yankee monopolies, exploited by Yankee imperialism in Latin America. (Applause) When you, Mr. Kennedy, when you speak of captives, you say Cubans, but you do not think of us. You think of and fear the rebellion of the real captives, the rebellion of the exploited. If the workers and peasants of Latin America had weapons as our people do, we would see what would happen. We would see who are the real captives, because these, whom you call captives, are armed captives, with tanks, planes. (Applause) Give the workers and peasants of Latin America tanks and planes and you will see who are the captives. That is the irrefutable proof.
But there is no hurry. We did not have cannons either. We did not have planes, but today we do. We were as disarmed as those captives of Latin America, but that did not prevent the triumph of the people, the triumph of the revolution. When the peoples decide to struggle, they can do what we did, and the millions of Latin American exploited by the imperialists can do what we did. (Applause) And the peoples are beginning to awake and struggle.
Thus is the proof of solidarity with our country; the action of some peoples, like the Venezuelan people who, while Betancourt, the puppet was sending his ships, along with the puppets of Argentina and Santo Domingo to blockade us, the Venezuelan people struggled and gave extraordinary evidence of revolutionary spirit, led by the glorious Communist Party of Venezuela (applause) and by the valiant militants of the leftist revolutionary movement. The imperialists were given evidence of what revolutionary solidarity is, and active solidarity of revolutionaries who do not sit in their doorways to wait for the corpse of their enemy to pass by, of revolutionaries who understand that the duty of all revolutionaries is to create the revolution.
Comrades, we begin a fifth anniversary. With what spirit should be view this new year? With an optimistic spirit, the spirit of a revolution, with faith in the future. May are the tasks ahead of us. Tasks do not end with years, but new tasks begin. Our problems today are not the same as four years ago. New problems, new obligations, and new tasks are ahead of us. Basically, it is our duty to create the riches that our country needs, to create the means of production we need to raise our standard of living, to satisfy the rising needs of our masses. Today everything belongs to the people and the fruits of work are for the people; the first duty of the people is to struggle to create all those means to satisfy all their needs. We must do that amid a bitter situation, serious problems that concern us all in the struggle against the common enemy, in the struggle against the imperialists.
What are the discrepancies in the bosom of the socialist family, the public discrepancies between large forces of the socialist camp? That concerns us all. It concerns us because we see with clarity here, from this trench 90 miles from the Yankee empire, how much cause for concern these discrepancies can be, how much unity is needed, how much all the strength of the entire socialist camp is needed to face up to those enemies.
We have the great historic task of bringing this revolution forward, of serving as an example for the revolution of Latin America, and within the socialist camp, which is and always will be our family. (Applause) We understand it to be our duty to struggle for unity under the principles of the socialist family, of the socialist camp. That is to be the line of our people, the line followed by the political leadership of the revolution. There are many problems and very great tasks ahead of us — first of all, to face up to imperialism. In that same situation are many peoples, the colonialized peoples subjected to imperialism. That is why that unity is so necessary. That is why it is so necessary to present a united front to the imperialists and that, I am certain, will be the clamor of the threatened peoples, the peoples who are fighting for their independence, the peoples who are struggling against the aggressions of imperialism.
A guide for our people: our task is to unite inside and outside, to eliminate everything that divides us inside and outside, to struggle for everything that unites us inside and outside, the unity of all principles, that is our line, fatherland or death, we will win!
This will be the year of organization. (Applause) Why? Because we must place our main effort in organization; in the first place, organization of the live party of socialist revolution, the development of the organization of our masses; that is, our mass organizations, the organization of our administrative agencies and the organization of economic agencies. This does not imply that this year will not be for education. The principal impetus will be for organization. All years are years for education and all years will be years for organization. But this year we will place emphasis on organization. And for that reason it will be called the year of organization.